According to his manager, Zlatan Ibrahimović will definitely still be a Manchester United player next season. José Mourinho is “totally convinced that he is going to stay.” The Portuguese apparently sees it as a formality that the striker he signed on a free transfer last summer will stay on past the summer. “He knows that we are going to try again to improve next season and try to share with him in a fantastic way probably the last year of his career at the highest level, so I'm convinced that he's staying.”
That all sounds perfectly settled, except for the fact that Ibrahimović himself has been notably less committal. Asked about the possibility of staying a second year, the big Swede only offered that “there's nothing done yet.” He added “We'll wait and see. Let's see what happens.” Oh, Zlatan, you tease!
Ibrahimović signed for United last summer on a one-year deal, with the option for a additional year. What is not clear, though, is how exactly the extension is triggered. Were it performance-related, it’s hard to believe that it would not have been activated by now, given Ibrahimović’s 20 goals so far. Had it been a unilateral club option, Mourinho’s comments give the impression that he would’ve authorized the extension already, as he did recently for Antonio Valencia. So what seems more likely at this point is that the player himself has the final say on whether or not to activate the extension.
Maybe Ibrahimović is just being coy about his future, as he was last summer before he confirmed that he was joining United. Or perhaps he’s been watching videos of himself this season, where despite his impressive goal output, he has been painfully immobile in many matches. Zlatan may well be grappling with the reality that he won’t have the legs for another season of top flight football, and would prefer to call it a day while he’s still productive. The indignity of getting the Wayne Rooney treatment next season is likely unappealing.
World class front men are in short supply, and another year of his quality and leadership could be a welcome gift. On the other hand, we’ve already seen the damaging effects of carrying a big ego in physical decline. Should Ibrahimović stay on another year? Have your say below.